Servility, Democracy, and the Duty to Obey the Law

dc.contributor.authorSwarup, Shruta
dc.contributor.chairMiller, Richard W
dc.contributor.committeeMemberKosch, Michelle
dc.contributor.committeeMemberSturgeon, Nicholas L
dc.description.abstractI advance a novel natural duty account of political obligation in my dissertation. A satisfactory account of political obligation must be able to show that there is a prima facie duty to do as the law commands because the law commands it. Extant natural duty accounts are vulnerable to the charge that the best they can do is establish that there is a duty to comply with a special subset of laws, namely those laws general compliance with which is necessary for the state’s ability to administer justice or rescue people from the perils of the state of nature. The view I develop overcomes this objection. My strategy is to argue that justice intrinsically requires not only that we enter into political society, but further that we establish a particular kind of society – one in which every person has an equal democratic say. I argue that there is an important kind of servility that has been overlooked in the literature. This servility consists in the willingness to subordinate one’s capacity for moral judgement to another’s. I draw upon this account of servility in developing a new argument for the right to an equal democratic say. Finally, I argue that laws which issue from a democratic process, a process that is itself intrinsically required by justice, have authority.
dc.identifier.otherbibid: 9948877
dc.titleServility, Democracy, and the Duty to Obey the Law
dc.typedissertation or thesis
dcterms.license University of Philosophy D., Philosophy


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